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Page last updated at 21:39 GMT, Friday, 1 October 2010 22:39 UK

Jim Jefferies has hope for Marius Zaliukas Hearts deal

Hearts defender Marius Zaliukas
Zaliukas has been on the sidelines since August with Hearts

Jim Jefferies believes that Marius Zaliukas could remain at Hearts and is desperate that something can be agreed so he can again select the defender.

The Hearts manager has been unable to play the Lithuanian since August, with club owner Vladimir Romanov trying to extend the 26-year-old's contract.

"I know at one stage that he was probably looking to move on," Jefferies told BBC Scotland.

"But I think lately he has been warming to staying. We rate him highly."

The circumstances resemble those of last season, when Jose Goncalves was excluded from the team after it became likely that the Portuguese defender would not sign a new contract.

But Jefferies said Zaliukas' case is not the same as the one he inherited after taking over from the sacked Csaba Laszlo.

All my career, I've had to do most of this job with one arm tied behind my back, so it is nothing new to me

Hearts manager Jim Jefferies

Zaliukas joined Hearts in 2006 on loan from Kaunas, the Lithuanian club sponsored by Romanov's bank, and is out of contract in December.

"Marius is a different situation as he is actually a Kaunas player," said Jefferies, whose side host reigning champions and league leaders Rangers without Zaliukas on Saturday.

"He is on loan to Hearts and they are trying to make that a permanent move.

"It is not all just one side. Marius has to realise that if he wants to stay at the club then he has got to be prepared to negotiate down."

Jefferies has been frustrated at being unable to use Zaliukas with Hearts having followed a Co-operative Insurance Cup exit at the hands of First Division Falkirk with a league defeat at home to Motherwell.

However, the manager refused to be publicly critical of Romanov, whose running of the club has often courted controversy.

"All my career, I've had to do most of this job with one arm tied behind my back, so it is nothing new to me," said Jefferies.

"It is just something that you have to face up to at the club and the way it is.

"You just have to get on with it and try to resolve these situations so we can put our strongest team on the pitch.

"Marius' agent is John Colquhoun and he is working very hard to get the situation resolved with the club."

Romanov has had a often stormy relationship with some previous Hearts managers amid claims that the owner was picking the team.

However, Jefferies denied that had ever been the case during his own second term as team boss at Tynecastle and hoped that the problem with Zaliukas would soon be resolved.

"They are talking every day and I am just waiting for word that he is available and we can get him back in the team, because we made him captain at the start of the season," he said.

"He is a really good player and we miss him a lot and hopefully it will be resolved sooner rather than later.

"He is like any other chairman. They recommend players, you have a look at them and you decide whether they are good enough."

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see also
Hearts 1-2 Rangers
02 Oct 10 |  Scottish Premier
Zaliukas admits to Hearts doubts
02 Sep 10 |  Hearts
Zaliukas extends Tynecastle stay
09 May 09 |  Hearts

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